This is a guest post by Lisa Marie.
I wish I could say that I learned all about good customer service relations from some fancy school or from a college course. But the truth of the matter is, in my online business ventures, I came to learn the most about this very important aspect of business by figuring it out as I went along.
So many things are commonly stressed in growing your online business, and lately the trend is a strong integration across your social media channels. But just getting out there on Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest is not enough. Whether you are an blogger selling affiliate products or have an online eCommerce store, your job is to serve your market, and good customer service cannot be overlooked.
Here Are 5 Important Keys to Giving Good Customer Service in *Your* Online Business
1. Connect & Answer Customer Questions.
Whether you have a blog or a service based business, it’s important to be available to your customers, as most people have questions before they make a purchase. Set up business profiles on Facebook and Twitter, and if someone asks you a question, reply promptly. If appropriate, invest in a toll-free telephone number. If you have a blog, respond to comments.
Make it a practice to not just actively promote your business on your social media channels, but to check in and see if you have any direct messages or notifications. We’ve probably all seen Facebook pages with questions that go unanswered. This is not only bad manners, it is potential business lost.
So check your accounts and check your emails daily. I even scan through my junk mail once a week, as legitimate correspondence can sometimes make it into there accidentally. Respond to all voice mails in a timely fashion, and be sure to leave your phone number slowly so the customer can call you back.
2. Always Be Respectful.
Remember that without your customers you have no business, so treat your online customers with the respect and courtesy they deserve. Use proper grammar and speak clearly. Do not try to impress people with fancy jargon and do not ever speak in a condescending manner or act rushed. Customers always appreciate doing business with a friendly, approachable person. Because you are online and not in person, conveying courtesy and friendliness is of utmost importance.
I have found that many people are initially wary of doing business online. After making a connection with these people whether via email, social media, or phone, they see that I am a real person who has every interest of helping them create the best wall mural for their needs. After that I find it’s just a natural progression to make the sale.
3. Be An Expert In Your Business.
Know your industry and your products, inside out and backwards. Be able to field any questions or concerns your potential customers may have. If you don’t have an answer, research and get back to the customer. Your job is to present the facts and steer them towards a buying decision. If they ask for your opinion, you can give it; but remember, the customer is in charge. Always make them feel that way.
4. Follow Up After The Sale.
If you show your customer how important their business is to you, even with a short thank you note or follow up email, they will be much more likely to remember their experience with you as positive. I like to encourage my customers to send in pictures of their wall murals once they have them up, and so many are happy to oblige. You must always let your customers know you appreciate their business. This can lead to future referrals and future sales.
5. Always Deal With Complaints.
We don’t like to think it will happen, but if you are in business for any length of time, you will occasionally get the unhappy customer. This is best handled with calmness and honesty. If something was done incorrectly on your end, do right by the customer, calmly own up to it, and then fix it immediately.
I have found that the majority of customer complaints are not difficult to handle by remembering to let the customer say what they need to say, and communicate that you heard them. When you offer to do what you can on your end, most unhappy customers can be satisfied.
If you follow these 5 simple tips to giving good customer service, you can easily outshine most of your competition. In this day and age when so many customer care agents really do not care and don’t take the time to listen, you can be proud that you are providing excellent service. Your customers will thank you for it with their business!
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